Mario, Donkey Kong and Nintendo have long since gone hand-in-hand, from the very beginning of gaming. With this latest twist on these mainstay characters, in Mario vs. Donkey Kong Mini-Land Mayhem, gamers are introduced to a rather unique experience and twist to the norm. In Mini-Land Mayhem, there is no jumping, head bopping or ball throwing from Mario, as we have come to expect from this little red overall-dressed man. Instead, there are conveyor belts to be built, warp pipes to travel and girders to place, among other nifty travel techniques to build and use.
Players must use their skills and wits, in this puzzle-based game, to construct paths which correctly guide mini wind-up Marios through different scenes and levels to reach doors to move on to the next stage/level. With this being said, players must react quickly because once the mini Marios are set to action, girders must be zapped and replaced in other areas before the Marios fall onto spikes and meet their doom. Also, once one mini Mario reaches the door, the rest must follow very quickly behind, before the timer runs out. Therefore, the player must have a “game plan” of sorts set in their mind before tapping on the mini Marios and setting them to action. A feature that I found very helpful, in the beginning of playing this game, is that after a certain number of failed attempts at passing a level, there will be an automatic help mode option that will pop up. Players can then tap on this, if they choose, and the scene will play out before the player, showing how to solve that level. This gives the player an idea how to play further levels as well, by setting in there mind ways to solve the puzzles. This option was incredibly helpful for me when I first began playing Mini-Land Mayhem, simply because I am not one to read instructions and am more the “play around” and figure out on my own type. This also aided me in realizing the strategy that I could apply in further levels of play. Remember, this is only an option that appears and players do not have to use this method.
Other features of the game are unlockable mini-games, several amusement park attractions and a special Donkey Kong level that can be accessed, after the player has cleared all other areas in an attraction. All of these variations are just within the game itself, thus, the tip of the Mini-Land Mayhem iceberg!
In addition to the single player game itself, there are virtually endless game play possibilities. The "Construction Zone" is an area that gives gamers the opportunity to create, play, edit and share their very own game levels. After a short tutorial, players can create their level using a variety of templates, game rules, characters, movable objects, backgrounds and several additional options. Once the player has created their level, they have the option to share it online, via Nintendo WFC. Here the player can store up to one hundred and sixty additional puzzles for game play, thirty friends and/or favorite creators and choose to use either a private or public upload, depending on who the player wants to view and play their creations. A maximum of twenty levels can be uploaded at any one time. Another facet to Mini-Land Mayhem is the "Challenge Mode," where players can create custom levels based on certain rules set by Nintendo and then submitted to an online competition to be judged by other players.